How concerned should you be about Omicron? Health experts aren’t sure


The South African doctor who alerted officials of the possibility of a new variant, later named omicron, said the “unusual but mild” symptoms were what caught her attention. (Photo: Getty Images)

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Thursday, the newest strain of the COVID-19 disease was found in at least 5 states around the nation.

Kansas is yet to report a case, but officials are preparing for the variant’s arrival. The Topeka Mayor recently encouraged booster shots and asked those to reconsider talking to their doctor about vaccination in a press conference Tuesday.

While health experts are cautious of the new variant, determining how impactful Omicron will actually be isn’t easy. Understanding how harmful a new variant is will require time to study the impact. At the current moment, scientists can only go off of previous variant patterns.

“The Omicron is of great interest because it has some similarities that predict it will be likely to be more transmissible, no way to know at this particular point in time if it’s going to cause clinically more severe illness,” Infectious Diseases Medicine Physician Clifton Jones said.

Dr. Jones says he’s not expecting the variant to impact Stormont Vail Health this holiday season. He is however expecting an increase in COVID cases overall due to the seasonal weather and indoor activities increasing.

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